Here are the nine things to keep in mind for killer B2B website content.
1. Messaging - Answer these four questions regarding what happens when someone first hits your site:
2. Educate and offer value - Sure, your website should have information about your products and services. However, most website visitors are not ready to buy from you. That's why you should offer e-books, white papers, videos and other forms of content. The more you educate, the more you will sell. Avoid "we are the best" chest-thumping and instead take a "this is how we can help you" approach.
3. Quality - Earlier I mentioned that content is king. More specifically, quality content is king. While a lot of content is a good thing, the search engines are getting smarter and buyers are getting savvier. Make sure your content is unique (search engines love and reward this), educational and helpful, fresh and relevant to your buyer.
4. Avoid gobbledygook - These are jargon terms and phrases that have been overused and abused, rendering them meaningless. I apologize for the torture you're about to endure - next-generation, cutting-edge, groundbreaking, best-of-breed, mission-critical, etc.
5. Be clear, not clever - There was a time when catchy and creative headlines worked well at capturing attention, especially when advertising was more powerful. Those days are over. People hate being marketed to and they always have. The difference is that now the website visitor, instead of sitting passively through a TV ad, will leave your site if you don't get to the point and provide the information they seek.
6. Blogging - Think of your blog as an online magazine that provides helpful information about the problems your customers have that your company can solve. Blogging is the most effective online marketing tool - more important than social media or any other part of your website. Blogging creates fresh content and more pages of content, which is great for search engine rankings. It helps establish you as an industry authority and your fresh and frequent blog posts will drive more traffic to your site. Blogging also allows you to communicate with your readers and earn inbound links, which are really important for search rankings.
Need more persuading about the effectiveness of blogs? According to HubSpot, companies that blog have 55 percent more website visitors and get 70 percent more leads than those that don't blog.
7. Make content shareable and social - According to social media marketing expert Jay Baer, "content is fire. Social media is gasoline." Once you have great content, make sure to use social media to get it distributed and shared. On your website, add a sharing widget on every page to enable your visitors to share your content via all the major social networks. And when you publish a blog post, set up your site so that it autopublishes content to your company's social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
8. Using multiple forms of content - Content is more than just the written word. Content also includes images, infographics, video, audio, online utility tools, games, etc. The more you can turn a text-heavy site into something that appeals to multiple audiences, the more effective your site content will be.
9. Customer confirmation - Your potential buyers want to know that you've made other customers happy. This is where testimonials, customer reviews and case studies can provide some of the most powerful content for moving prospects closer to a sale.
(This article originally appeared in Inside Business - The Hampton Roads Business Journal, on November 10, 2014.)